Solar Energy in the USA: Statistics and Forecasts

Solar panels over the image of skyscrapers and a sunset

After the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, the U.S. solar industry started growing rapidly. Projects frozen in 2022 were resumed, and new projects were introduced everywhere. Statistics for solar energy show that solar energy amounted to about 55% of all new electrical capacity added to the network in 2023.

According to solar energy statistics for 2024, the growth of U.S. solar energy looked like this:

A graphic representation of the development of the U.S. solar industry from 2010 to 2024

Source: SEIA

According to the latest forecasts, by 2025, solar energy production in the United States will increase by 75% compared with data for 2023. Statistics about solar energy shows the same trend across all states, including Illinois. The active development of solar energy in Illinois is expected within the next 5 years, with the amount of solar capacity growing by as much as 1700%.

Read on to learn about the factors and prerequisites for the development of the industry in Illinois and the city of Chicago.

Growth of Solar Power in Illinois: Scope and Timing

Illinois is a growing solar industry market. According to statistics on solar energy, the capacity of solar installations at the beginning of 2024 amounted to 2,948 MW, which is only 2.03% of the total electricity generated in the state. That’s why solar Illinois currently ranks only 14th in the state rankings.

A graphic representation of Illinois solar industry development from 2014 through 2023

Source: SEIA

Illinois offers tremendous opportunities for solar industry growth.

There are several reasons for this:

  • High potential of the energy industry
  • Short payback period for any solar installation
  • Several incentives for solar energy from the government

The number of solar energy installations on residential and commercial properties is increasing every year. At the beginning of 2024, there were 87,374 installations throughout the state and 475,586 homes consuming clean energy from solar power plants.

Large community solar projects in Illinois are also being actively developed. In 2023, the state continued to build community solar power plants. And at the end of 2023, the first power plant of this kind was launched. Thanks to its operation, more than 650 Chicago families save money by using solar electricity.

Chicago Solar: Solar Energy Facts and Statistics

Chicago, IL, has an average level of solar radiation (4.74 kilowatt-hours per square meter per day (kWh/m2/day). The highest solar activity here is seen in July, and the lowest is in December. According to solar energy statistics,  excellent conditions for solar power plants occur on 198 sunny days a year.

A graphic representation of solar activity level in Chicago by month

Source: Solar Energy Local

Solar energy statistics showed that the popularity of residential and commercial solar installations in Chicago has been growing rapidly over the past 10 years. This is due to government and state incentives. The utility-scale energy industry is also growing, providing solar power to nearly 46,000 homes in Chicago over 10 years.

The “Solar energy of Illinois program for all” allows any household in the state, whose income is less than 80% of the regional average, to use solar energy without installing solar panels. This is possible, for example, when connecting to a community solar energy system.

Chicago solar map clearly shows the location of all available solar installations in the city and their approximate calculated capacities. On the interactive Illinois solar farm map, you can find larger projects (with a capacity of 1MW) operating or about to be constructed.

If you’re looking for the best solar panels in Chicago, get your free solar quote to compare prices and make an educated decision.

Jobs in Illinois Solar Energy Association in 2024

The statistics for solar energy measured using the annual census of solar energy jobs shows that the industry amounted to 5,652 employed people in 2022, which is 132 jobs more than in 2021:

A graph representing the change in the number of solar industry jobs in Illinois from 2017 to 2022

Source: IREC

The distribution of jobs by sector is as follows:

  1. Installation and project development – 3,712 jobs
  2. Manufacturing – 542 jobs
  3. Wholesale trade and distribution – 739 jobs
  4. Operation and maintenance – 384 jobs
  5. Other – 275 jobs

As of early 2024, there were 5,652 relevant job openings for energy professionals in Illinois, and there were 373 solar industry companies (76 manufacturers, 114 installers/developers, and 183 others).

Investments in Solar Power Illinois: Who, Where, and How Much

The annual Solar Means Business report shows that large corporations such as Meta, Amazon, Apple, Walmart, Microsoft, and several others are investing significantly in solar energy.

The table lists the 10 companies and the capacity (MW) of solar power they have invested in up to 2022.


Company Solar Power Capacity (MW)
Meta 3588.1
Amazon 1113.4
Apple 987.3
Walmart 688.9
Microsoft 550.1
Target 515.1
Cargill 342.0
Kaiser Permanente 302.5
AB InBev 300.7
Evraz North America 300.0


According to solar energy statistics in the United States, the solar industry attracted more than $60 billion of private investments in 2023. Talking about Illinois, the statistics of solar energy showed a general investment from the private and public sectors of $5.2 billion at the beginning of 2024.

Walmart, Target, and Lineage Logistics have switched to solar in Illinois. Amazon’s 3 MW project is one of the largest enterprise projects in the state.

Chicago Solar Market: The Future is Just Around the Corner!

Undoubtedly, Illinois solar power, and particularly solar in Chicago, will develop rapidly in the near future. Solar industry development in Chicago will lead to new jobs, more benefits of clean energy, and significant cost savings.

Such development will also help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 62% by 2040 in line with the climate change action plan.

A possible volume of emissions avoided in Chicago with the help of solar electricity

Source: Project Sunroof

Did you know that every 1.5 hours, the earth’s surface reaches enough sunlight to satisfy the world’s energy needs for the whole year? Despite this, technology now allows the use of only a tiny part of the total renewable energy potential.

If you’re looking for the best solar panels in Chicago, get your free solar quote to compare prices and make an educated decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the current financial incentives for installing solar panels in Chicago?

In Illinois, the cost of a photovoltaic system is heavily subsidized. There are many discounts and various benefits, including tax benefits. For example, programs like the federal investment tax credit, Illinois Shines, or property tax exemption for solar energy investments. Also, some homeowners whose incomes are below the regional average may qualify for participation in the “Solar energy in Illinois for all” program.

How has the adoption of solar energy impacted electricity rates in Chicago?

Any electricity you use from a solar panel system reduces the amount of kWh a day you can get from the grid. Your avoided costs depend on how much your system generates and the cost of the electricity it replaces.

What are the most common challenges faced by residents and businesses when installing solar panels in Chicago?

You may encounter problems with incorrect installation of the panels or damage to the roof during installation. There are also difficulties with wires, which can overheat due to bends, which are fraught with fire. A huge nuisance can become a huge problem if not installed in time, protection from birds that like to nest under the panels, making many problems.